NORTH ADAMS -- The shelves at Cariddi Sales are stocked and waiting for local parents selected by the Northern Berkshire Santa Fund to come and pick out toys for their children.
The Northern Berkshire Santa Fund, which launched its annual fundraising campaign earlier this month, has set a goal of raising $25,150 this year. Donations, which recently reached $4,719, are used to provide gift certificates to needy families for the purchase of toys at Cariddi Sales, which has partnered with the fund for over three decades.
"Last year we provided toys to over 550 children and we are quickly approaching that number again," Peter Lynch, publisher of the Transcript and The Advocate said Thursday.
Lynch, who also serves as the president of the Santa Fund's board of directors, said the fund has provided toys to over 500 children a year for the last three years. Last year, local individuals, businesses and organizations donated a total of $23,952, all of which was used to purchase toys.
The nonprofit fund, now in its 54th year, was established in 1958 by the Transcript and the former Sprague Electric Co. Management Club. It continues to be run by volunteers and has no administrative costs.
"When it first started, everyone who was part of the Sprague Electric Co. Management Club wrapped the toys and delivered them to the homes of the families," City Councilor Marie Harpin, vice president of the board of directors, said Thursday. "It was just amazing to see. This is the Santa Fund's 54th year and it's really become something that is part of the community."
Families who are selected to receive gift certificates have applied to the fund and have undergone a time-tested process for determining who is eligible for the gifts. The determination process, which is rigorous but fair, includes input from local social service agencies and clergy to ensure that those who need assistance are included.
Those families who have received the gift certificates to purchase toys will have a wide variety to chose from, according to Antoinette Cariddi, of Cariddi Sales.
"I think everyone will be happy this year," she said of the toys. "This year, we really tried to have more of a variety of items. We wanted to try to meet the wants and needs of the families. I think there is something here for everyone of every age."
Among the stocked shelves of the Cariddi warehouse are items such as Star Wars and Avengers action figures, Barbie dolls, Disney Princess sets, Playskool toys for young tots, craft kits, board games and sports equipment.
"We have no doubt that our community will once again pitch in to assist our less fortunate friends and neighbors," Lynch said. "The people of Northern Berkshire have always come through."
As has been the tradition, the Transcript will print the names of all who make donations -- along with their brief holiday greetings or memorial messages -- as they come in. No donation is too small or too large, and all are tax-deductible.
Please send your donations to: Northern Berkshire Santa Fund, c/o the North Adams Transcript, 85 Main St., Suite 2, North Adams, MA 01247, or drop them off in the large gift-wrapped box a the front counter of the Transcript and Advocate office.
To reach Jennifer Huberdeau, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
$25,150 is this year's goal for the Northern Berkshire Santa Fund.
$23,952 was donated last year by local individuals, businesses and organizations, all of which was used to purchase toys.
$4,719 in donations have already been received.
500 children a year for the last three years have had toys provided
by the fund.
54 years of giving. The Santa Fund was established in 1958 by the
Transcript and the former Sprague Electric Co. Management Club.
$0 administrative costs for the Santa Fund.